The Cyber-Cave

Reflections on the political, technological, cultural and economic trends of the world

Transhumanism

“If you can’t beat a machine, become one.” (Zoltan Istvan)

Early proponents:
-Nikolai Fydorov (1829-1903): a Russian Orthodox believer adhering to the ‘cosmism’ movement which supported the use of scientific means to obtain immortality.
-Sir Julian Sorell Huxley (1887-1975)- a British biologist (Aldous Huxley’s brother) and proponent of natural selection. His research brought him to the belief (contrary to Aristotelian teleology) of ‘progress without a goal’ in the field of evolution. Huxley acknowledged this had huge implications for our current religious beliefs. He coined the term ‘transhumanism’ to refer to a possible next step in human evolution. [his essays are contained in ‘new bottles for new wine’].
-J.B.S Haldane (1892-1964)- A British scientist (atheist and marxist supporter of the USSR) that had various fields of inquiry including biology and mathematics. He developed the idea of what we now call the ‘primordial soup’ regarding the origin of life.
His theories on the advancement of human life (through genetic manipulation) influence Aldous Huxley in his “Brave New World”. Though in “Deadalus; or Science, and the future” Haldane recognises that ethics are needed whenever new interventions are made. In the book he also provides good insights on the nature of scientific inventions: “”The chemical or physical inventor is always a Prometheus. There is no great invention, from fire to flying, which has not been hailed as an insult to some god. But if every physical and chemical invention is a blasphemy, every biological invention is a perversion. There is hardly one which, on first being brought to the notice of an observer from any nation which had not previously heard of their existence, would not appear to him as indecent and unnatural.”
-John Desmond Bernal: atheist marxist British biologist. In “The World, the Flesh and the Devil”, Bernal introduces concepts related to transhumanism.

Current proponents:
Larry Page
Elon Musk: merger of biological intelligence and machine intelligence; to have symbiosis with machine use of brain interfaces. In 2017 he launched the start-up ‘Neuralink’ to create devices (neural lace) that can connect the brain with a computer
Kurzweil
Nick Bostrom (history of transhumanism)
Martin Rees writes in a 2015 Financial Times column titled ‘The post-human era is dawning’ that “Humans and all they have thought might be a transient precursor to the deeper cogitations of another culture — one dominated by machines, extending deep into the future and spreading far beyond earth.” [1]; Rees believes that this new culture/civilisation may supplant the human one. A civilisation of ‘inorganic intelligence’.

-Miguel Nicolelis claims the brain does not work in a algorithmic way, so non-computable.

SOURCES
[1] https://www.ft.com/content/4fe10870-20c2-11e5-ab0f-6bb9974f25d0
[2] http://www.theverge.com/a/transhumanism-2015/history-of-transhumanism

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: